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Silvio Valletta not a politically exposed person in Caruana Galizia case, AG insists

Appeal on deputy commissioner’s involvement in murder probe

Silvio Valletta and his wife, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana.

Silvio Valletta and his wife, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana.

The Attorney General has found fault in the court’s description of Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta as a politically exposed person (PEP) in the Caruana Galizia murder case.

The comments were made in an appeal filed by the Police Commissioner, the Attorney General and Mr Valletta following the decision by the court that the deputy commissioner is to desist from taking part in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation.

The family of the slain journalist had contested Mr Valletta’s involvement in the investigation, insisting that he had a conflict of interest since he was married to Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana.

Judge Silvio Meli said in his ruling earlier this month that all of Mr Valletta’s involvement in the investigation so far was to be re-examined by the person replacing him in the position.

In the appeal filed on Wednesday, the AG argued that the PEP classification was one that could only be applied to finance law, insisting that such a description cannot be applied to other areas.

Even members of the judiciary are PEPs, but that does not mean they cannot carry out their duties

“It is significant to note that even members of the judiciary are classified as PEPs, but that does not mean that this restricts them from carrying out their duties,” the appellants said.

Justice Meli had also noted when handing down the decision that as the deputy commissioner was married to the Gozo Minister and holds a position within the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, and since the slain journalist had written about him and his wife before she was murdered, it was natural that doubts were raised over the investigation.

The AG argued, however, that this in no way impinged upon the investigation since the inquiry into the murder was being led by an inquiring magistrate and not the deputy commissioner. On the pair being subject to harsh criticism by Ms Caruana Galizia, the AG said that both Mr Valletta and Ms Caruana had treated the issue with maturity and had not even reacted to what had been written. Concerns by Justice Meli that the police’s loyalty was being split between that towards the force and towards the inquiring magistrate were dismissed as “totally unfounded and incorrect”.

“In a magisterial inquiry, the police officials involved answer to the inquiring magistrate and they carry out whatever order is given by this magistrate, even if they form part of the police force.

“There is no factual basis to say that in this case, the interests of the inquiring magistrate and the police are conflicting or to imply that the police has some interest in not solving this murder,” the appellants said.

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